A week after a long-running manga series caused uproar with its representation of the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant and its effects to the locals, the manga’s publishers have taken the first step in accepting criticism thrown their way, publicly acknowledging the gaffe. Officials and residents of Fukushima had denounced what they called “an insensitive portrayal” of the disaster-hit area in the comic series.
Locals and authorities from Fukushima have already lodged a protest against the publisher of Oishinbo — a popular manga series that focuses on food and cooking — after the installments featuring Fukushima came out. Shogakukan Inc., the publisher of the popular manga series, has issued a statement regarding the controversy which they published within the latest issue of Big Comic Spirits. “We take criticism to heart and will once again re-examine the whole concept of expression,” they stated. The main character of “Oishinbo” is a food writer that chronicles his adventures around Japan. The issue that sparked the controversy showed him suffering from nosebleed after visiting Fukushima. Locals attacked the inaccurate depiction as destructive to the readers and the town as it gives them a different perspective from the actual state of Fukushima. Some authorities also expressed concerns on how such negative portrayal may affect tourism in the area, which they are slowly building up, years after the disastrous Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami hit in 2011. It also placed Osaka in a bad light as it pictured residents from the city in one scene, complaining after waste from Fuksuhima were incinerated in a place nearby.
Shogakukan defended the author of the series, Tetsu Kariya, from the criticism. It explained that the episode was aimed at raising more awareness on the ill effects of radiation and nuclear power and was not in any way done to tarnish Fukushima’s reputation. To counter the bad publicity, the publishers have included a 10-page explanation and opinions by medical experts and academics in its latest issue, so readers may fully understand radiation and its effects.
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